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I have inherited a garage after a recent move, and as I also have off street parking, it seems only right and natural that I start to indulge my desire to start homebrewing.

My intention is to be good enough to brew all the ale for my wedding within 2 years, but having never done it before, I just want to wet my beak in the process.

A lot of people have advised me to start with a kit, and I wonder firstly is this good advice, and secondly if anyone has one they would recommend? I am without anything more than space, with regards to equipment, so is it a good idea to opt for one that comes with bit of kit?

any help would be warmly appreciated.

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I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's a shopping question, and it already turned out that answers are outdated and not usable. Updating answers now would hardly help, in year or two it would be bad again. – Mołot Nov 15 '15 at 13:40
I agree with Molot. Also, when buying from the internet, pretty much all kits are available in most countries. – Philippe Nov 27 '15 at 2:32
up vote 5 down vote accepted

First, welcome to brewing!

I would first urge to look around in your neighborhood to see if there's a local homebrew shop. They can help you with the equipment and knowledge to get started.

But, if there isn't one around you, there are a couple of online homebrew shops that sell the equipment needed to get started. The three I've used in the past and recommend are Northern Brewer, More Beer, and Austin Homebrew Supply. Each site has beginner equipment and ingredient kits.

I would trust the equipment from any of these sites but I've only tested the ingredient kits from Northern Brewer. I'd recommend Extract Kits to start with.

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I started with a kit from AHB, and still use many of the things that came with it. – Jeff L Nov 9 '10 at 19:12
The question is for the UK. All the sites you listed are US. – Doug Edey Apr 9 '13 at 14:22

To give more localised advice, there's a small Homebrew shop at the bottom of Widcombe Hill in Bath, if you ever happen to be in Bath (Their website is very unfinished, however). The other supplier I know of is the-home-brew-shop.co.uk, based near Farnborough, Hampshire, where I was on placement.

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any tips on anything I can get online in this country? – Mild Fuzz Nov 16 '10 at 12:46
Sorry, I've not used either, but at least the latter is an online store. The shop itself looked professional and decent, so I presume the online presence will be reliable too. – Edd Nov 16 '10 at 21:53

Brew UK are pretty good and have a range of starter kits such as the St Peter's Microbrewery kit. This will get you up and running. I got the Woodforde's Wherry kit to start off with (admittedly from a local home brew shop - it was a present from my wife).

If you are going to go into bottling, I'd recommend a second fermentation bin with a tap and a little bottler (as well as the bottle capper of course). As to the bottles, I just wash out and remove the labels from shop bought ales. You do have to be careful as many will not be designed for bottle conditioning but I've been very lucky so far with that only having one burst on me.

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That St. Peter's kit is very good value as a starter. You will probably need to do a bit of work to the barrel to get a nice seal out of it, I used Vaseline. The Ruby Red is a nice ale. – Mere Development Apr 9 '13 at 22:30

I think a starter kit is great advice. You will get going quick and easy, and learn a lot.

I got started with this: Midwest Brew Supply starter kit. Have fun!

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Home Brew Mart and The Home Brewery both have beginner equipment and accessories, along with instructions and recipes.

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I started with the Coopers Microbrewry Kit. Its $99, and comes with just about everything you need to start brewing.

  • 1 Plastic 30 liter fermenter with lid (and o ring), makes 23 liters (6 Gallons)
  • 1 Hydrometer
  • 1 Sediment Reducer
  • 1 Plastic Spoon
  • 1 "Little Bottler" tube and bottling valve
  • 1 Tap
  • 1 Airlock
  • 1 Airlock grommet
  • 1 Thermometer
  • 30 740ml PET bottles and caps
  • 1 Instruction booklet
  • 1 Instructional DVD
  • 1 Cooper’s Lager Beer Kit Package – which includes:
    • 1 1.7kg Coopers Lager Beer Kit Concentrate with yeast
    • 1 1 kg Coopers Brewing Sugar
    • 1 Bag of Carbonation drops

Eventually you'll want to move up from the Coopers beer recipes (which are a bit boring), but the fermenting equipment that comes with the kit is quality stuff. I especially like the 30 liter fermenter. It's much better than a bucket and works great as a primary.

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I got the Brooklyn Brew Shop kit from the BrewDog shop in London (BottleDog King's Cross). It costs £40, and it includes the main material (you will only need a stockpot, strainer, funnel and bottles but that should be easy). It comes with ingredients for the first brew and the material is reusable. The fermenter is 1 gallon, so it doesn't take much space and it is good for beginners.

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